Volume 11 • Number 3 • March 2010

We knew it was coming; it was only a matter of time. Ever since the New England J. of Medicine published the article that finally addressed the true mechanism of how cholesterol drugs work, I waited for the other shoe to drop: if regulators agree, the pool of people in the United States eligible for cholesterol-lowering drugs could soon expand dramatically to include as many as 6 million people whose cholesterol levels fall within a normal range.[1] Last year, a study showed that the incidence of strokes, heart attacks and other circulatory problems decreased significantly with statin drugs because they have an anti-inflammatory action and not necessarily because they lower cholesterol.[2]

We have known this for quite some time, now (see blogs and newsletter archives.) Instead of addressing the source of inflammation (diet, stress and toxic environments,) Big Pharma would rather give everyone a drug, rather than do the right thing: teach doctors and patients about lifestyle changes.

I get it; it is not their job to do so. They only want to make money.

It is up to us (it has always been) to seek health. We can find it in Mother Nature; cholesterol drugs were extracted from Red Rice, used in China for centuries for health problems.[3]

We hope the introduction of the first botanical new drug in the modern era of FDA regulation will simulate more clinical testing of potentially useful botanical products and eventually lead to new therapies derived from complex natural mixtures that will satisfy unmet medical needs.”[4] 

Big Pharma creates compounds that are synthetic enough to be deemed “not natural;” then, they can be patented as drugs that can be sold. Big Pharma also erroneously believes that it can improve on Mother Nature; for example, by purifying the main molecule in Red Rice that lowers cholesterol and inflammation, HMG Co enzyme reductase, it discarded all the other micronutrients in Red Rice, thinking that they were worthless (this reminds me of “junk DNA.”) The result has been more side effects; statin drugs may irritate muscles and liver; now we know they can increase the risk of diabetes by 9%.[5] Oh, well; we could always take Avandia… Sorry, I almost forgot it has been linked to 83,000 heart attacks in the USA from 1999 to 2007.[6]

The “worthless” nutrients in Red Rice not only mitigate the harshness of the reductase, but also reduce inflammation. But, there is hope. Enlightened pharmacology understands that:

Many effective drugs act via modulation of multiple proteins rather than single targets. Advances in systems biology are revealing a phenotypic robustness and a network structure that strongly suggests that exquisitely selective compounds, compared with multi-target drugs, may exhibit lower rather than desired clinical efficacy.”[7]

 

We need to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Will the King’s men let us do it?

It looks doubtful. In this age of “Corporatism,” when our democracy is threatened by powerful corporations that now have carte blanche to pour even more money to buy access to government, the health of the people is not the supreme law of the land; business is. Some believe like Darwin, that the strong deserves all the spoils, that business is the survival of the fittest. Conveniently, the strong get special regulations to favor their self interests.

Corporatists believe that history is on their side; it is, if they focus on unsustainable governments by rich and despotic tyrants who have lasted until the next despot dethrones them. Corporatists are right if they ignore those democratic and sustainable societies that most dismiss as primitive, despite their sustainable ways. Even though they don’t win medals at the Winter Olympics, more humble “tribes” have been around a whole lot longer.

Without them, the first waves of Europeans may not have taken roots in the wilds of America. Without the influence of Locke and Rousseau, who were inspired by democratic European tribes (before feudalism) and the influence of the Iroquois federation of democratic tribes, our Founding Fathers may not have framed a constitution that proclaimed We The People as the source of power, not corporations or kingdoms.[8]

Ignoring the ingrained democratic instincts in our genes[9] societies degenerate into governments that favor corporations’ over We The People’s wellbeing. From Wall Street to every sector of the economy we see examples of cut throat business practices that neglect simple, sustainable and cheaper solutions. Health care corporations have not been immune. 

Hugo Rodier, MD

 

Cancer prevention update

Let’s start by refreshing your memory with the landmark article in the journal Carcinogenesis; it documents that good nutrition (specific foods listed therein) prevents 2/3 of cancer.[10] Articles like that appear each week; yet, we hardly hear about them. Why? I fear the answer is in my rant above. Here is a list of the latest articles I found last month:

 Soft Drinks and Juice Consumption and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer;”[11]

Two or more servings of juice a week didn’t do it.

 Caffeine Intake and Risk of Adult Glioma in Three Prospective Cohort Studies;”[12]
Caffeine in moderation primes detoxification pathways in the liver.

 Dietary Glucosinolate (cruciferous veggies) Intake, Polymorphisms in Selected Biotransformation Enzymes, and Risk of Prostate Cancer;”
Cruciferous raise glutathione levels, the most potent detoxifying antioxidant. NAC, SAMe, whey, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle also raise glutathione.

 Soy Consumption and Colorectal Cancer Risk in Humans: A Meta-Analysis;”[13]
Anybody out there who still believes that soy is bad for you? It helps detox in the gut.

 Effects of Supplemental Vitamin D and Calcium on Oxidative DNA Damage Marker in Normal Colorectal Mucosa: A Randomized Clinical Trial;”[14]
            Sunlight is not enough when we live so far north; aim for 2-5,000 IU a day.

New Approaches in Immunotherapy; innate immune system to get more attention;”[15]

That means that the gut, which is where 2/3 of our immune system is found, is going to get more attention. Not a minute too late; this concept won the Nobel Prize in 1908… 

Gut Microbes Define Liver Cancer Risk in Mice Exposed to Chemical and Viral Transgenic Hepatocarcinogens;”[16]

Our friendly gut organisms, a big part of our immune-detox system, help us mitigate the mutagenic effect of toxic chemicals in the environment. By the way, we are talking about the very chemicals that for years big corporations have told us are safe. Read on: 

Associations of Serum Concentrations of Organochlorine Pesticides with Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer in U.S. Adults,”   

Residential Pesticides and Childhood Leukemia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Critical Confluence” & Gene Variants, Insecticide Exposure May Increase Childhood Brain Tumor Risk,”[17]

Just in case it is not clear: avoiding toxins and eating good food to fuel detox pathways in the liver and intestines  is the best way to lower our risk of getting cancer.

Menstrual irregularities

The “standard of care” is to give young women birth control pills whenever they have any menstrual problem. Fortunately, smart patients quickly figure out this reflex therapy is only treating symptoms, not the root of the problem. Other than too much sugar in their diets,[18] and estrogen-like toxins in the environment,[19] a lack of key nutrients is at play.

One of them is B vitamins. Their function is closely related to that of the amino acid Arginine; both are vital to optimize health; for instance, they are indispensable to maintain good circulation.

ADMA is an inflammatory marker that goes up when we lack the amino acid arginine, much like homocysteine goes up when we lack B vitamins. It turns out that both B vitamins and arginine are interconnected in themethylation pathway of detoxification, neurotransmitter synthesis and DNA replication. Al these functions are involved in menstruation.

Consider supplementing arginine and B vitamins when young women have menstrual problems.[20] Of course, maximize absorption of these key nutrients in the gut, which is compromised when we eat too much sugar, little fiber, and take antibiotics, acid-blocking pills and drink chlorinated water. By making these changes we also improve detoxification of those xenoestrogens that mess with hormonal function, as seen in menstrual irregularities.

 

Telegraphed articles 

Probiotic-Derived Factors: Probiotaceuticals?”[21]
              Friendly gut organisms are about to join the 50% of pharmaceuticals that are derived
              from herbs or nutrients.[22] What drug name will they get? I vote for “Bugutexx.”

The Probiotic Lactobacillus Acidophilus Reduces Cholesterol Absorption Through the Down-Regulation of Niemann-Pick C1-like 1 in Caco-2 Cells.”[23]

This may be another reason why fiber, aka “prebiotics,” lower cholesterol; it feeds the good guys in the gut. Make sure you get at 25-35 grams of fiber a day. Recommendations go down with age; women need a bit less.

Fluorocarbons and Cholesterol: A Sticky Connection.”[24]

Pollution elevates cholesterol; remember that cholesterol is 90% a liver issue. Yet another reason for detoxifying with good diets as often as possible. 

Antidepressant Drug Effects and Depression Severity: A Patient-Level Meta-analysis.”[25]

These drugs only work on severe depression, which fortunately, is not seen that often. If you have the “blues” (mild-moderate depression) over some rough patch in your life, an antidepressant may not help you. Consider folic acid MTHFR, SAMe, tryptophan, GABA, ginseng, St John’s wort, and above all, a loving listening ear. This too shall pass; suffering is how we learn to be more receptive to the needs of our fellowman.


[1] US Panel Favors Wider Use of Preventive Drug Treatment,” J. Science 2010: 130-131.

[2] New England J. of Medicine, November 9th 2008 (10.1056/NEJMoa0807646)

[3] European J. Cardiovascular Rehabilitation 2007;14:438

[4]New Therapies from Old Medicines,” J. Nature Biotechnology 2008;26:1077

[5] Statins and Risk of Incident Diabetes: a collaborative meta-analysis of randomised statin trials,”

J. Lancet February 17th 2010 Online

[6] Senate hearing, February 22nd  2010

[7]Network Pharmacology: the next paradigm in drug discovery,”

J. Nature Chemical Biology 2008;4:682

[8] Book of the month: “What Would Jefferson Do,” Thom Hartmann; Three Rivers Press, 2004.              

It discusses genetic programming favoring democracy and our country’s foundation resting on old democratic principles copied from tribes in Europe and North America. While it discusses We The People very well, I did not enjoy Hartmann’s partisan overtones and his attacks on John Adams. Cant’ we focus on the goodness of both political parties? For a more balanced approach on John Adams, read McCullough’s excellent book.

[9]Group-Decision Making in Animals,” J. Nature 2003;421:155 &

Democracy Beats Despotism in the Animal World,” J. New Scientist, January 8th, 2003

[10]Apoptosis by Dietary Factors,” J. Carcinogenesis 2007;28:233

[11] J. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2010 19:447

[12] J. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2010 19:39

[13] J. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2010;19:148

[14] J. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2010 19:280

[15] J. Science 15 January 2010, page 249

[16] J. Gut 2010;59:88

[17] J. Environmental Health Perspectives January 2010

[18] J. of the American Medical Association 2001;286:2421

[19]Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Probed as Potential Pathways to Illness,”

J. of the American Medial Asoociation 2005;294:291

[20] ADMA Concentration Changes Across the Menstrual Cycle and During Oral Contraceptive Use:

the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study,” European J. Endocrinology 2010;162: 259

[21] J. Nutrition 2010;140: 229

[22] J. Science 2009;325:161

[23] British J. of Nutrition 2010;103:473

[24] J. Environmental Health Perspectives 2010;118:a81-a81

[25] J. of the American Medical Association 2010; 303: 47

 

Hugo Rodier, MD is an integrative physician based in Draper, Utah who specializes in healing chronic disease at the cellular level by blending proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, & allopathic practices when necessary.

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